Violinist Leslee Smucker is currently working on her Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is an active performer, teacher, collaborator, artist, and participator in various projects involving interaction between the arts, their combination and collaboration in various fields. The project “Personae” is a vivid illustration of her creative searches, and the notes to the program explain in detail her interest in the poetic and musical work of Ezra Pound and his influence on contemporary writers. Here is an extract of her notes: “The title “Personae” derives from a collection of short poems by Pound of the same name dated 1909.  In Pound’s musical works, he often rejects traditional musical forms and replaces them with poetic forms including the sestina. The sestina is a structured and cyclical poetic form that includes six stanzas, each with six lines. Each stanza utilizes similar words re-ordered, bringing new meaning to each stanza. Jesse Nathan, the author of the poem you hear throughout the recording, shared his thoughts on the form of the sestina: “The sestina has been called a form of “reverie”. Language repeats and shifts like clouds. The dance of variation with sameness may be the essence of art, if not life itself, and the source of the recognizable strangeness of each voice, face, persona. A person is nothing if not a variation on an ancient form.” […] I have taken the form of the sestina as my inspiration and so the recording consists of six “tercets,” or groups of three pieces. In each tercet you’ll find a work by Pound, a stanza of Jesse Nathan’s poem, and a contemporary work. My intention is for the recording to be one cohesive listening experience that lasts 55 minutes.” 


  • Track Listing

    [1] Printemps…George Antheil 1:19
    [2] “Persona” Stanza One…Jesse Nathan 0:23
    [3] Madame trop vos me spremes…Le Duc de Bougogne, Ezra Pound, editeur 1:14

    [4] Fiddle Music, First Suite…Ezra Pound 3:17
    [5] Stanza Two…Jesse Nathan 0:21
    [6] Raadsels…Louis Andriessen 5:52
    I - Prière, II - Vexations, III - Harmonies

    [7] Sestina: Altaforte…Ezra Pound 4:17
    [8] Stanza Three…Jesse Nathan 0:22
    [9] Sestina (after Pound)…JP Merz 7:03

    [10] Plainte pour la Mort du roi Richard Coeur de Lion…Gaucelm Faidit (XII siècle), transcribed for violin by Ezra Pound 3:21
    [11] Stanza Four…Jesse Nathan 0:23
    [12] The Logical Conclusion…Egemen Kesikli 4:37

    [13] Al Poco Giorno…Ezra Pound 5:33
    [14] Stanza Five…Jesse Nathan 0:23
    [15] Nocturne…Kaija Saariaho 3:59

    [16] Tu soi nel fiore della sua bellezza…Pétrus Convitortio (15th century), Ezra Pound, editeur 0:57
    Xenia…Louis Andriessen
    [17] I - Sarabande 2:52
    [18] II - Caccia 4:22
    [19] III - Song 3:01
    [20] Stanza Six…Jesse Nathan 1:17
    DDD 55:00

  • “Persona” recited by Lana Smucker